Wake County expected to announce countywide mask mandate on Friday

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Wake County will issue a mask mandate later this week as COVID-19 cases and testing surge in the area and across the state.

Wake County Board of Commissioners Vice Chair Vickie Adamson confirmed to CBS 17 on Tuesday morning that a mandate will be issued on Friday.

When the mask mandate will take effect has not been decided at this time.

Most of the mayors from the 12 municipalities that make up Wake County met over Zoom last week to discuss a potential mandate and then met again Monday evening to continue discussions.

Last week, CBS 17 reached out to all 12 mayors to find out where they stood on the issue. The mayors of Apex, Fuquay-Varina, Holly Springs, Wake Forest, and Wendell all said they’re opposed to another mandate.

“The bottom line is we support masks, but we don’t want to support mandates,” Holly Springs Mayor Dick Sears said.

“We just want to encourage people to get the vaccine and wear a mask when appropriate,” Apex Mayor Jacques Gilbert said.

Wake County Board of Commissioners Chairman Matt Calabria told CBS 17 last week that the county is still moving forward with a mask mandate. It would apply in municipalities where mayors approve it and in unincorporated parts of the county.

“The CDC has shown time and again that mask mandates do drive down infection rates,” Calabria said. “It also provides cover, frankly, for businesses and for establishments that really want to have all their folks masked.”

Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin issued a mask mandate in the city last Friday evening. Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht announced on Monday that masks will be required indoors in the Town of Cary beginning on Wednesday.

“The number of COVID-19 cases continues to increase in our community and across the state at an alarming rate,” Baldwin said last week. “The idea that we can hope COVID-19 will just go away on its own is not a reality. It’s time to take responsible action and today we are taking an important step to make sure the people of this community, and those who visit us, remain healthy and safe.”

“This new phase of the pandemic has brought some old challenges roaring back, but our experience in 2020 taught us an important lesson: Masks work,” Weinbrecht said. “Because Cary citizens decided to protect each other by masking up last year, we were able to keep our hospitals from being overwhelmed. With the delta variant spreading quickly, we need that community spirit now more than ever.”

Adamson said that the board will continue to work with the mayors this week to try to get the five who don’t support the mandate on board with the other seven mayors and the board of commissioners, who are all in support of the proposal.

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